Air quotes


Air quotes

Air quotes, also called fingerquotes or Ersatz quotes (pronounced [ ɛɐ'zats ] ) refers to using one's fingers to make virtual quotation marks in the air when speaking. This is typically done with both hands held shoulder-width apart and at the eye level of the speaker, with the index and middle fingers on each hand forming a V sign and then flexing at the beginning and end of the phrase being "quoted". The air-quoted phrase is generally very short — a few words at most — in common usage, though sometimes much longer phrases may be used for comic effect. A single handed quote is an equivalent, though less dramatic variation. This became very popular since the 90's.

Air quotes are often used to express satire, sarcasm, irony or euphemism. In print, scare quotes fill a similar purpose.

As English usage of air quotes imitates English usage of printed quotation marks, the gestures formed by the fingers in other languages depends on those languages' quotation mark styles. For example, German-language air quotes sometimes comprise one hand inverted relative to the other in order to imitate German-language quotation mark convention. French-language air quotes conveniently utilize the V-shape formed by the index and middle fingers on each hand to imitate French-language use of "guillemets".

Trivia

In the movie "" Dr. Evil claims to have invented "quotation fingers". Furthermore, the character's use of air quotes can be seen in all three Austin Powers' movies.

External links


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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • air quotes — n. a gesture shaping virtual quotation marks in the air, usu. made with the index and middle fingers of both hands: She said she s a vegetarian, but she eats fish, so she put air quotes around the word[/ex] • Etymology: [1985 90] …   From formal English to slang

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